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Archive for the ‘Foresight’ Category

miWisdom today… The vast majority of people have a natural tendency to overestimate their time, work, energy, decisions and actions. This is known as the Jellybean principle, which is the act of being incapable of estimating correctly how many colored Jellybeans are in the jar.  

Back in high school there was always someone organizing a Jellybean counting competition of some sorts each year. They would get hold of the largest glass jar or container they could find, and would “stuff” it with as many jellybeans as was humanly possible. Then, one-by-one each student would attempt to guess how many Jellybeans were enclosed within the jar. I was intrigued as to how students would go about estimating the number of Jellybeans that were in the jar. 

  • Would they try to calculate it mathematically based on the size of each jellybean and the dimensions of the glass jar?
  • Would they just attempt to “guestimate” how many jellybeans would fit in a jar of that size?
  • Or would they go to extra lengths and attempt to replicate my jellybean competition by purchasing their own jellybeans and jar?

The methods and ways these students used were as varying as their jellybean estimates. Yet, one interesting factor came out of this competition. This one factor in many ways explains how people think and how they go about their daily lives and decisions.

What I found was that 77% of entries that I received overestimated the jellybean count within the jar, and only 23% underestimated it. Given these results; what do they teach us about human nature?

People naturally have a tendency to overestimate their daily decisions and actions. They overestimate:

  • Time – the time it will take them to complete a task or project
  • Energy – the energy they have to undertake a certain activity
  • Work – the amount of work they have to do within a specific time frame
  • Decisions – the impact that their decisions will have on others, themselves and life
  • Actions – the impact that their actions will have on others, themselves and life

Of course, not everyone overestimates the above points. Yet, based on the Jellybean Principle most people do have a habit and tendency towards making these kinds of decision and actions – and this is what leads to much hardship and disappointment in life.

People naturally tend to overestimate because they simply do not have enough information or experience within a specific field or area to make a more accurate estimate of what it would take to accomplish a certain task. They will look at a task and will only see it from the surface, from an outsider’s perspective. And it’s from this perspective that they will base their decisions. 

It’s much like looking at a box that has wrapping all over it. On the surface, everyone knows that it’s a box, and that to open a box it takes certain actions and tools. However, what many of us fail to understand is that what we see on the surface may not be quite what we will experience during the process and act of opening the box. We simply fail to ask ourselves the right questions, or fail to garner the necessary foresight in order to fully understand and comprehend the time, energy, and work it will take to accomplish each task. This lack of foresight is what leads to disappointment and potentially low levels of self-esteem.

Before you begin a new and unfamiliar task, you might like to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What aspects of this task am I confident I can accomplish successfully without any outside assistance?
  • What aspects of this task am I not familiar with?
  • How can I go about becoming familiar and confident with these aspects?
  • What if what I thought I knew wasn’t true at all? How can I verify that my knowledge and experience is adequate in accomplishing this task successfully?
  • Do I understand that what might have worked in the past may not in fact work as planned today? How can I prepare for this possibility?
  • What questions must I ask myself throughout this task to ensure that I stay on track and within the timeframe I have allocated?

If you have a similar learning experience or would like to add to the list of questions, you may do so by commenting below.

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miWisdom today… What looks like an opportunity on the surface to progress your life forward may in fact turn out to be a terrible mistake because of a simple yet noticeable oversight. One must therefore learn to always be extremely vigilant, to take into account all possibilities, and to develop the necessary foresight to make the right and best decision in the moment.

Life will always bring an endless array of opportunities our way each and every day (whether we notice them or not). On the surface every one of these opportunities will probably look very appetising. It is only when we look under the bonnet and ask ourselves the right kinds of questions that the demons will eventually reveal themselves. These demons are there to teach you lessons about where your life is headed. They are there to wake you up and show you that you may be on the wrong path, that you may be heading in the opposite direction, or that you may not as yet have asked the right questions that will lead you to the answers you seek.

In the end, opportunities whether filled with demons or angels are there to teach us great lessons about ourselves, and are therefore guiding posts to a better future if we take the time to learn and grow from each opportunity that comes our way.

  • What is it about this opportunity that could lead to undesirable results?
  • How can I see this opportunity in a different light?
  • Whose feedback and guidance can I draw from to help me make the best decision here?
  • Does this opportunity mean short-term loss for long-term gain? Or is it the other way around?
  • If I take on board this opportunity, what other doors of opportunity could it open for me? What doors could it also potentially close?
  • If I run with this opportunity, will it mean that I am limiting or expanding my options in the future?
  • Do the benefits of taking this opportunity on board outweigh the potential consequences?

If you have a similar learning experience or would like to add to the list of questions, you may do so by commenting below.

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miWisdom today… It is not usually the decisions or actions that people regret taking but rather the results of their actions and how these outcomes have impacted the people, events and circumstances of their lives.

On a deeper level of understanding you will find that people wholeheartedly support the decisions that they make and actions that they take. If the outcomes are satisfactory and to their liking they will feel secure in their decision and action making process. On the other hand, if their outcomes contradict what they expected, they will regret their decisions and actions. Yet it is not their decisions and actions that they are in actuality regretting but rather the outcomes of these decisions and actions.

  • What are all the possible consequences or outcomes of this decision that I am about to make?
  • How could my decision impact other people both directly and indirectly? What potential consequences could result?
  • How could my decision impact my life and circumstances? What potential consequences could result?
  • Is it the right time and place to make this decision or take this action, or will there be a better time in the future where the possible consequences are more in my favour?
  • Do I wholeheartedly support this decision and action no matter what consequences or outcomes may result? If so, than this is probably the right decision to make at this time?

If you have a similar learning experience or would like to add to the list of questions, you may do so by commenting below.

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miWisdom today… One must be prepared to do the unexpected at any moment in time in order to get ahead and stay ahead in this world. Whether this means stepping out of one’s comfort zone and overcoming a fear, or it could just be learning to master a new skill for the first time.  Either way, one must be prepared, willing and able to step forward, adapt and do what is required in the moment, otherwise one will struggle to move forward in life to any measurable degree.

  • What possible unexpected events or circumstances could lay on the horizon for me?
  • How can I best prepare myself to deal with them as they arise?
  • What new skills must I master over the coming months to prepare me for the possible challenges that lie ahead?
  • How will I go about obtaining and learning these new skills?
  • Who could assist me with knowledge or mentor me in this area?

If you have a similar learning experience or would like to add to the list of questions, you may do so by commenting below.

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miWisdom today… Everyone enjoys being surprised, as long as you don’t pull them out of their comfort zone and put them in a situation where they do something that goes against their nature. People however don’t enjoy being surprised when they have another agenda on their mind. In such instances, surprises can just get in the way of their daily activities leading to an inconvenient distraction despite other people’s best intentions.

  • Have I taken into account this person’s schedule and daily activities when planning this surprise for them?
  • Am I thinking about them or do I have my own personal agenda in mind?
  • How will this person react to the surprise? Will it make them feel comfortable or uncomfortable?
  • Is this the right method to use given what I know about this person?

If you have a similar learning experience or would like to add to the list of questions, you may do so by commenting below.

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miWisdom today… It was actually the small decisions, those that you didn’t really reflect upon, those that seemed insignificant at the time, those that you felt had very little meaning… Yes it was those small decisions that you made a long, long time ago that are manifesting in your life today.

  • In what way have the small decisions of my past impacted my life today in both a positive and negative way?
  • In what ways can I learn from my past decisions?
  • What small and seemingly insignificant decisions have I made today?
  • What possible consequences could these decisions have on my future in unexpected ways?

If you have a similar learning experience or would like to add to the list of questions, you may do so by commenting below.

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miWisdom today… One occasionally is left with no option but to bend the truth at times in order to protect others from potential harm.

  • If I am to be completely honest and upfront with this person how will it effect them mentally, emotionally and physically?
  • Is this the right time to reveal the truth, or should I wait for a better moment?
  • How will they behave if they learn the truth, and could this potentially harm them in any way?
  • How can I reveal the truth in a manner that will be easy to accept and understand?

If you have a similar learning experience or would like to add to the list of questions, you may do so by commenting below.

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